Civil Rights of Faith-Based Organizations

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
-First Amendment to the United States Constitution

The blogger at Who’s Wrong Today disagreed with my earlier blog that asserted that faith-based organizations have the right to hire who they want.  This blogger writes:

Do we really want to promote as a societal ideal that employers can hire whoever they want, for whatever reason they choose? As with all employers, candidates for a position should be evaluated on their ability to do the job.

Um…yes.  I do want to promote the ideal that is already in place that employers can hire whoever they want, for whatever reason they choose.  This is America, where we are guaranteed the free exercise of religion and speech.  We are fortunate to live in a country where Bibles are not confiscated at the airport and where businesses are not forced to hire people whose philosophies or beliefs run counter to their stated purposes, even if those businesses receive federal funding.  If a job applicant’s beliefs run counter to those of the company, then it can be argued that that applicant would not be able to do his job.

Imagine the outcry from Planned Parenthood if Congress enacted a law requiring all clinics to staff a pro-life counseling advocate.  Or if Congress required that the World Wildlife Fund hire employees that do not share their basic views about conservation of nature.  Why should religious organizations be exempted from the civil rights granted to organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the World Wildlife Fund?  Is a belief about faith somehow inferior to a belief about a woman’s right to choose?

It is my contention that any organization, faith-based or otherwise, that reaches out to help the poor and receives taxpayer funds to do so should be allowed to hire its employees at its own discretion so that it does not compromise its stated mission.

As a taxpayer and a Christ-follower, I would much rather my tax dollars go towards programs that work — even if they are to a faith-based initiative that runs counter to my own faith, rather than towards cumbersome government-run groups filled with corruption at worst and inefficiency at best.  I am interested in results.

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